24 Feb Faith Steps in Academics
To quote the Holy Bible, ‘Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see’ (Hebrews 11:1). Integration of faith and academia is a domain that has already been researched, but there are more dimensions to be uncovered. `Faith has a massive role to play, especially in a believer’s life coupled with academics.
A testimony about how trust in Jesus Christ and surrendering to Him changed my life – Despite being born and raised in a Christian home and always having a relationship with Jesus, I never felt compelled to share the gospel with others. I had the privilege to be a part of TKM EU throughout my B Tech days at the TKM College of Engineering, Kollam. I was able to manage academics and extracurricular activities well, and as a result, I was elected as the 2017’s Batch Representative.Soon enough, the time I had was snatched away for numerous activities and academics, making it nearly impossible for me to attend prayer meetings. Even though I had a good personal relationship with Jesus and was encouraged to share the gospel at our EU meetings, I still lacked the motivation to tell others about this loving heavenly Father. I always deluded myself into believing that proclaiming the gospel was not my calling because I was afraid of hurting others’ sentiments.
My conscience was stained with shame because I knew I was hurting God’s feelings every time I ran away from his calling.
During my final year of university, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the State Conference in Tiruvalla. The memory of me stepping out to the front and declaring myself a “student missionary” during the last worship session was puzzling, because I was already placed in a reputable organization with no plans to pursue higher education at that time. Today, though, I am certain that the Holy Spirit’s mysterious imprints have touched me. Following the completion of the course, I enrolled in GATE exam preparation in Calicut. Even though I put on a brave face, I was emotionally drained and depressed those days. But, God was faithful, always! God used Sali Aunty, the cook in the hostel where I resided, to revoke the purpose of my calling. After listening to her Christ experiences every day evening in her small room, I wanted to win souls for heaven for the first time. I had heard hundreds of sermons, attended many camps, meetings, and workshops, yet for the first time, I wanted to conquer souls for heaven. During those trying times, I was profoundly inspired by the late Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke’s messages and testimonies. I began to make an effort to bring Jesus into my friends’ conversations. I eagerly desired to place my youth in the Lord’s disposal, waiting for his guidance as I progressed through life.
When it came to M Tech admissions, I could see God’s providence at work. I was accepted into IIT Madras’ MS course as well as a reputable NIT’s M Tech programme. My family was going through a financial crisis and an emotional breakdown at the time, so I was unable to participate that year, which discouraged me. Miraculously, I was able to get a job as a Guest Lecturer at a Government Polytechnic College where my Father was teaching at the time, and I witnessed the Lord’s healing hands wash away all of my family’s troubles. That one year was one of the most stress-free and enjoyable periods of my life. I loved teaching so much that I didn’t want to return for M Tech, completely forgetting my pledge to God about being a missionary student. God never forgets our promises, even if we do! I reapplied for M Tech at various IITs and NITs, including institutions to which I had not applied the previous year, due to parental pressure. I was hesitant to go to IIT Bhubaneswar, Odisha, because of the Fani storm that ravaged the area during that time. I promised God that I would only travel to Bhubaneswar provided train tickets were available, which proved tough to come by as the deadline approached. While I was checking, I was surprised to see a solitary seat in the ladies quota. It didn’t take me long to realise that was God’s plan, and my written test and interview went far better than I had anticipated. No human eye has ever seen, no human ear has ever heard, and no human mind has ever conceived of God’s means and designs.
I joined IIT Bhubaneswar, clearly seeking God’s purpose, only to discover that this environment was not ready for me. From a damaged new mobile phone to an accident requiring major surgery for ligament fracture, I lasted only two months of the first semester. Despite my inability to comprehend God’s plan, I did not doubt his purpose in my life, which allowed me to navigate the recuperation and healing process more smoothly than I had hoped. I returned to the second semester with a first semester lag, yet God blessed my academics tremendously, despite the fact that I did not complete my first semester. EU at IIT Bhubaneswar was like a refreshing break in a barren country, nourishing the soul. The testimonies of Sis. Deena and Bro. Binu filled me and Maria with hope, encouraging us to pray for each other’s burning flames here and to rekindle the sparks of faith that had vanished. I am currently in my fourth semester and am eager to see what God has in store for me. During these trying times, there were moments of despair, melancholy, and anxiety, but I know now that I am an instrument for the Lord, and the blanket of love, faith, and hope that he wraps around me is more than enough. Everyday offers a series of new challenges but putting use of God’s words along with the guidance of the Holy Spirit helps to evade each obstacle.
Every time I feel like giving up, this verse resonates within me, ‘Remember your Creator in the days of your youth’ as well as the over pouring jar of grace, mercy, faithfulness and love that conquered heaven, to be called his very own children and preparing an eternity to finally reunite with us.
Sruthi V. Roy graduated from TKM College of Engineering in Kollam with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and currently pursuing a master’s degree in environmental engineering at IIT Bhubaneswar.